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Turkeys, worms and Schadenfreude

Republicans and other conservatives who are tempted to indulge excessive Schadenfreude over the woes of Charlie Rose, Al Franken and their sordid fellows, taking delight in their pain and humiliation, should remember Iron Law of Politics No. 3, that nothing recedes like success. Giving too many hoots and hollers at turkeys over this holiday season is great fun, but the universal truth about worms is that they eventually turn.

FILE - In this May 15, 2017 file photo, protesters hold signs during a demonstration against President Donald Trump's revised travel ban, outside a federal courthouse in Seattle. A Somali refugee living in Washington state is asking a federal judge to let his wife and young children join him in the U.S., saying the Trump administration's indefinite ban on allowing the families of refugees to enter the country violates immigration law. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren, File)

Bordering on Obama-era dysfunction

Fidelity is scarce in Donald Trump’s Washington, except among the not so loyal opposition. Whether owing to compassion or incompetence, the Trump administration one year on has failed to replace holdovers, leaving in place Barack Obama’s people who are dedicated to obstruction and delay of the new era. In some federal departments, the greatest danger a bureaucrat faces is a paper cut. But about immigration, it’s whether the laws enacted to protect the American people will be enforced.

Senate Minority Leader Sen. Chuck Schumer of N.Y., center, arrives to speak to a large group of protesters rally against the Senate Republican healthcare bill on the East Front of the Capitol Building in Washington, Wednesday, June 28, 2017. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

The season of the big slice

President Trump has something extra to be grateful for this Thanksgiving: a the long-awaited tax cut bill, passed by the House and en route to the Senate. As he marks the season with the traditional pardoning of the White House turkey, Republicans in line for similar clemency will get it only if the voters can find it in their hearts to forgive a plodding, inefficient (did someone say “incompetent”?) and lazybones Congress.

Back on the list of bad guys

You can’t blame North Korea for playing American presidents for willing suckers. A succession of them applied for the job. President Trump didn’t, and Monday restored North Korea to a deserved place of prominence on the U.S. list of state sponsors of terrorism.

FILE - In this May 14, 2012 file photo, King Salman, left, speaks with his son, now Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman, (MBS), as they wait for Gulf Arab leaders ahead of the opening of Gulf Cooperation Council, in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. The surprise dismissal and arrest of dozens of ministers, royals, officials and senior military officers by MBS late Saturday, Nov. 4, 2017, is unprecedented in the secretive, 85-year-old kingdom. But so is the by-now virtually certain rise to the throne of a 30-something royal who, in another first, is succeeding his father. (AP Photo/Hassan Ammar, File)

Interesting times in Arabia

If hard times can make a monkey eat red pepper, as the ancient saying goes, tough times might require Arab and Jew to join forces to bring home the bacon. (Metaphorically speaking, of course.) The reformation of Islam, which stalled in Spain in the 16th century, might be struggling for renewed purchase in Saudi Arabia.

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An economy back on track

The American economy has been in a funk for a decade. Donald Trump was elected largely on his promise to see the economy regain traction and resume speed on the road to prosperity. There are encouraging signs that his strategy of releasing the regulatory brakes is working. Combined with changes in immigration policy, the years in the doldrums may soon be at an end.

A wise word from the past

The Washington Times

"Experience is the teacher of all things," said Julius Caesar. The mighty ruler of Rome would know, but considering the ancient emperor's pointed encounter with sharp knives some things can be better learned through observation at a safe distance.

Mr. Trump's LGBT tweets

The Washington Times

Lawyers are always looking for clients, but — until now — they have to find a client who has actually suffered harm before filing a lawsuit seeking damages for harm. But lawyers for five newly reconstructed women, each identified only as Jane Doe to preserve anonymity, have filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court in Washington arguing that President Trump's tweet that he would bar transsexuals from serving in the military services violates both the Equal Protection clause of the 14th Amendment and the due process clause of the Fifth Amendment to the Constitution.

People watch a TV screen showing a local news program reporting about North Korean military's plans to launch missiles into waters near Guam, with an image of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, at Seoul Train Station in Seoul, South Korea, Tuesday, Aug. 15, 2017. North Korea said Tuesday that leader Kim Jong Un was briefed on his military's plans to launch missiles into waters near Guam as part of an effort to create "enveloping fire" near the U.S. military hub in the Pacific. The letters read "Kim Jong Un, would watch a little more U.S.'s behavior." (AP Photo/Lee Jin-man)

A wise word from the past

"Experience is the teacher of all things," said Julius Caesar. The mighty ruler of Rome would know, but considering the ancient emperor's pointed encounter with sharp knives some things can be better learned through observation at a safe distance.

Mr. Trump's LGBT tweets

Lawyers are always looking for clients, but -- until now --they have to find a client who has actually suffered harm before filing a lawsuit seeking damages for harm. But lawyers for five newly reconstructed women, each identified only as Jane Doe to preserve anonymity, have filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court in Washington arguing that President Trump's tweet that he would bar transsexuals from serving in the military services violates both the Equal Protection clause of the 14th Amendment and the due process clause of the Fifth Amendment to the Constitution.

In this July 10, 2017 photo, Moina Shaiq speaks to a man after a Meet a Muslim event at Bronco Billy's Pizza Palace in Fremont, Calif. Shaiq discussed the importance of the hijab, the head scarf, and the niqab, the face covering, as well as the differences between Sunnis and Shias. She also spoke about the rights of women in Islam, and what it's like to be an American-Muslim today in her one-hour talks. (AP Photo/Kristin J. Bender)

The demographic threat to the West

Acombination of falling birthrates among the native-born and the influx of hundreds of thousands of Muslim refugees from the Middle East threatens to swamp the indigenous European culture from which America sprang. Preserving the best of the culture will be the responsibility of the emerging generations, and the size of that responsibility is only now coming clear.

A rainbow appears over Tumon Bay, Guam Sunday, Aug. 13, 2017. Residents of the U.S. Pacific island territory of Guam face a missile threat from North Korea. (AP Photo/Tassanee Vejpongsa)

Waiting for China

Everybody talks a good game of peace, goodwill and other good stuff from the sidelines of the noisy war of words between the United States and North Korea, but none of those sideline warriors wants to be seen doing any of the heavy lifting.

Fans wave flags of Puerto Rico as compatriot Ivan Rodriguez speaks during his induction into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, N.Y., Sunday, July 30, 2017. (AP Photo/Reed Saxon)

Cleaning up Puerto Rico's mess

Puerto Rico continues to struggle with the consequences of irresponsibly running up debt. It owes debtors about $70 billion, and a default on debt which was due to be fully repaid by last month has made things worse. The Puerto Rico Oversight, Management, and Economic Stability Act, enacted last year after President Obama and House Speaker Paul Ryan applied pressure on Congress, was supposed to prevent things like that. Instead it threatens to accelerate the rate of collapse.

In this April 6, 2017, file photo, former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton speaks during the Women in the World Summit at Lincoln Center in New York. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer, File)

Deeper into the swamp

Sending a defeated rival to the penitentiary is not the American way (except, maybe, in New Jersey, Illinois or Louisiana). But in a swamp there's always an alligator eager to bite off any fingers searching in the murk for the drain plug.

A rescue drone flies during a training flight operation in the Atlantic beach of Biscarrosse, southwestern France, Tuesday, Aug. 8, 2017. A cutting-edge lifesaving initiative is taking flight again this summer off France's popular Atlantic beach destinations: the rescue drone. Following a successful launch in 2016, three airborne life-saver drones are being operated in the southwestern Nouvelle-Aquitaine region spots until September to come to the aid of swimmers struggling in choppy water.(AP Photo/Bob Edme)

The summer of discontent

The steamy days of August are cooking up a summer of discontent. Like much of what lies beyond the front door, the reasons for the national angst are complicated and often contradictory. Raucous noise from the nation's capital plays a big role in how Americans see the landscape, but waiting for a wind to freshen the air above the Washington swamp might be a long wait.

Trying again with secession

If at first you don't succeed, secede. That's the latest message from California, where the idea of breaking up with the United States is the current rage. With Donald Trump in the White House attempting to "make America great again," the idea of returning to an era of freedom, faith and family is as antithetical to the cool crowd as a blue-light special at Kmart. The farther the Left Coast travels down the road toward "Calexit," the harder the climb back into the good graces of Americans for whom California is not as cool as it once was.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions, accompanied by, from left, National Counterintelligence and Security Center Director William Evanina, Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats, speaks during a news conference at the Justice Department in Washington, Friday, Aug. 4, 2017, on leaks of classified material threatening national security.  (AP Andrew Harnik)

A job for dedicated plumbers

Attorney General Jeff Sessions declared war, or at least a skirmish, on leakers last week, and it's about time. Leakers grow like weeds in Washington, and it was ever thus, but it's out of hand when The Washington Post prints leaked transcripts of the president's telephone conversations with foreign heads of state. Even Democrats say so, even if using the occasion to slip another needle into the president, or mock Mr. Sessions' motives.

**FILE** Chief Judge Royce Lamberth of the U.S. District Court in Washington is pictured May 1, 2008, during a ceremony where the title of chief judge for the U.S. District Court in Washington was passed from Judge Thomas F. Hogan to Lamberth at the federal courthouse in Washington. (Associated Press)

Two loud cheers for clean elections

You might think every good citizen would cheer attempts to protect the sanctity of the vote. Many good men and women have died for the right to vote, and we all owe it to them to protect what their sacrifice achieved for all.

Resisting the blue pencil

James Lankford, the Republican senator from Oklahoma, was rightly incensed Monday by an ABC News online headline that "Jeff Sessions addresses 'anti-LGBT hate group' but DOJ won't release his remarks."James Lankford, the Republican senator from Oklahoma, was rightly incensed Monday by an ABC News online headline that "Jeff Sessions addresses 'anti-LGBT hate group' but DOJ won't release his remarks."

In this Thursday, June 8, 2017, file photo, former FBI Director James Comey speaks during a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing on Capitol Hill, in Washington. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik, File)

James Comey's literary apology

James Comey has good reason to despise Donald Trump. He would hardly be human if he doesn't. The president cashiered him without ceremony, and nobody likes to hear "you're fired!" Now the director of the FBI until he was sacked has a book contract, and he's in the dilemma similar to that of Zsa Zsa Gabor's seventh husband. He knew what was expected of him on their wedding night, but despaired of making it fresh and surprising.

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, center, looks at the watch of Bureau of Internal Revenue Commissioner Caesar R. Dulay, right, as Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea watch them during the 113th Founding Anniversary of the Bureau of Internal Revenue in metropolitan Manila, Wednesday, Aug. 2, 2017. The tough-talking Duterte briefly lashed out at North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in a speech before local revenue collectors Wednesday. (AP Photo/Aaron Favila)

The road to reality in Pyongyang

The road to reality in Pyongyang leads through Beijing, and it's a road with many potholes. China doesn't want chaos in North Korea, but neither does it want to give up the means to profit from that chaos. Nevertheless, North Korea's second intercontinental ballistics missile launch last week caught the attention of the five countries with a stake in a stable Korean peninsula.

President Trump embraced a Republican-sponsored bill last week that would trim the broad range of family relationships that qualify for immigration and inject a government screen for needed skills and English proficiency into employer immigration. (Associated Press/File)

A good start on immigration reform

Why enact a law or write an executive order to reform a broken immigration system when a poem will do? President Trump endorsed new immigration legislation Wednesday, moving to a merit-based system, and it was greeted with predictable cries and squeals from advocates of open borders.

FILE - In this Tuesday, Oct. 25, 2016, file photo, a miniature reproduction of Arturo Di Modica's "Charging Bull" sculpture sits on display at a street vendor's table outside the New York Stock Exchange, in lower Manhattan. U.S. Stocks are rising Tuesday, Aug. 1, 2017, as payment processors and banks trade higher. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer, File)

The abuse of Freddie and Fannie Mae

Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae almost took down the U.S. economy by transforming bad mortgages into something that looked valuable, but were anything but. The extraordinary bailouts that followed put everyone, for one good reason and another, shaking in their boots.